Liberal New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking fire for his plan to give free medical care to the uninsured – including 300,000 undocumented immigrants.
"Health care isn't just a right in theory, it must be a right in practice," the mayor, a 2020 presidential contender, tweeted. "Today I'm announcing a plan to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers. Through our own public option and a new program called NYC Care, we'll ensure the first stop for people isn't the emergency room."
NYC Care will cover medical costs – from pediatrics to geriatrics – for anyone who can't afford insurance, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status.
"I refuse the notion that these folks don't deserve health care," the mayor said, referring to undocumented immigrants. "It is not only the morally right choice, but it will save taxpayers in the end."
De Blasio says this 'Medicare-for-all' initiative should be a model for the nation.
"The solution, the ultimate solution, is single-payer health insurance for this whole country, Medicare for all," he said. "That's the ideal. That's what we need."
The New York City mayor estimates the cost at $100 million.
Meanwhile, one New York Republican lawmaker criticized the initiative, saying the mayor is using taxpayers "like his personal ATM."
"Our citizens have a hard enough time covering their own healthcare costs and now Mayor de Blasio also wants them to pay for the healthcare of 300,000 citizens of other countries," said Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. "The mayor must stop abusing the middle class and treating us like his personal ATM."
She also said the mayor should lower property taxes on senior citizens forced to sell their homes, rather than buy health care for people who are not US citizens.
"How about instead of giving free health care to 300,000 citizens of other countries, you lower property taxes for our senior citizens who are being forced to sell the homes they've lived in for decades because they can't afford to pay your 44 percent increase in property taxes?" she charged.